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Part 2: Tips for Buckling a Child into a Car Seat

Steve Wagner

This is a follow-up to Part 1 of this car seat safety series.

As simple as some car seats may seem, the truth is that with all the snaps and fasteners and buckles, not to mention road rules and regulations, they can be quite confusing.

Whether you are awaiting the arrival of a child, or you are preparing for grandkids, car seats change every year and it is important to stay educated on the changes and updates made to them for safety reasons. It is also important to note all the different types of seats and the appropriate age ranges for each one.

In our previous blog, we discussed new federal regulations for the LATCH system, as well as extended rear-facing seats and a few recommendations for proper car seat installation. In this blog, we would like to address a few simple tips for keeping your children safe with some proper buckling techniques and a couple of “no’s” for car seat safety.

Here are a few tips for proper buckling in a car seat:

  • The chest clip is exactly that, a “chest” clip. It should be buckled snuggly at armpit level, right across the chest of a child.
  • Straps should never, ever be twisted. Before buckling a child in, run your hands over the straps to make sure all the twists and knots are smoothed out.
  • Car seats and winter coats DO NOT combine. If you have your child dressed in a puffy coat, or any other type of big, bulky clothing, it must be removed before buckling them into the seat. In the event of a crash, bulky clothing can compress enough to make the straps too loose (even if you think they are tightened down all the way) and children can slip through the straps. If it is extremely cold, try a thick fleece jacket, as most fleece is thin enough to be buckled safely under car seat straps.
  • Never add aftermarket accessories to a car seat. Not only can adding accessories to your seat void its warranty, but they can also endanger a child in the event of a crash. Shoulder pads, zip-up car seat covers, and many other accessories flood the market today, but the danger of these accessories is rarely considered.
  • Always tighten the straps snuggly. When buckling in a child, it is recommended to tighten the straps until you can no longer pinch any of the harness fabric between your fingers.
  • Check the harness height, depending on the position of your child. If a child is rear-facing, the top of the shoulder straps should fall at or below shoulder level. In a forward facing seat, the straps should fall at or above shoulder level.

Again, if you are unsure about the installation of your seat, or how to properly buckle your child into it, check out the NHSTA’s website and find a professional car seat technician near you! These technicians are here to help make sure you and your child stay safe in the event of a motor vehicle accident, and they can answer all of your car seat-related questions!

If you or your children have been injured due to the negligence of another driver, give the car accident attorneys at Wagner Reese a call and schedule a free consultation with us as soon as possible!

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